Meet The Editorial Board: Steve Dusek

Written by: Brady Drake

Dakota Business Lending
President and CEO

Steve Dusek has been married to Suellen for over 30 years, with four grown children, and two grandchildren. A graduate of Grafton High School and the University of North Dakota, Steve has been President and CEO of Dakota Business Lending in Fargo, ND since 2010. Dakota Business Lending Lending is the largest and most experienced SBA Certified Development Company in the State and has been around for over 38 years. Moving to Fargo allowed Steve and his family the opportunity to move back to the area he and Suellen were born and raised in as well as being able to continue to work with small businesses in the SBA 504 industry. Prior to moving back home, Steve worked as President/CEO of Prairieland EDC, located in Slayton, Minnesota. Since 1989, Steve has developed his thirty-one-year economic development career in the upper Midwest. This position serves as the face of Dakota Business Lending to its constituency and manages the day-to-day operations of the corporation. The President and CEO is responsible for all programs and operations, strategic development and initiatives, company culture, compliance with Federal agencies, and management of all loan portfolios and staff.

Steve currently manages a loan portfolio of approximately $400 million and a staff of ten.  Dakota Business Lending’s portfolio includes SBA 504 loans, Rural Development IRP loans, and numerous local development funds. With offices in Fargo, Bismarck and Lewistown, MT, Dakota Business Lending entirely covers North Dakota and Montana, and parts of Western Minnesota.

Steve has served 15 years as an at-large director for the National Association of Development Companies (NADCO), served the two+ years as Vice-Chair of Regulatory Affairs, guiding the industry and numerous CDC’s through the governance regulation changes and being accessible and providing assistance to dozens of CDC’s across the Country with various regulatory issues to include internal controls, governance, and project eligibility. He also served as Treasurer for four years. He continues to make himself available to all CDC’s and assists in these areas as they navigate the SBA changes in their local areas. He has also served as a board member for the ND Center for Technology and Business and the InspireLab.

What is your favorite thing about your professional life?

Being a first-rate financing partner, I enjoy being part of a team that provides the momentum a small business needs to start or grow their small business. I really enjoy being part of the success of small businesses by being involved in making their dreams become reality. Finding those financing solutions that make a difference and provide small businesses with the best opportunity for success is an awesome vocation to have.

Three unique facts about yourself

  1. I had my picture taken with Jay Leno and have been on the Jay Leno show.
  2. I coached high school girls hockey for over five years.
  3. I was the youngest brother of three siblings.

What are some of your favorite things about the Fargo-Moorhead area?

I like the small feeling that this larger community affords. Fargo/ West Fargo has everything we need, yet our neighborhood feels small and the people are some of the best in the World! In addition, there is a large selection of good quality restaurants to choose from. Finally, it’s home.

If you weren’t working in your current profession, what would you be doing?

I think I would be a marine biologist and work with the dolphins and whales at Sea World.

What are some things you like to do in your spare time?

It doesn’t matter what I am doing, spending time with family is number one. I like to travel, even short weekend trips to areas that are close by. The State and the Region have so many wonderful places to see and visit. I enjoy UND hockey and relaxing on the front porch.

What are three books or podcasts you recommend people check out?

  1. Servant Leadership by Robert K. Greenleaf
  2. Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
  3. Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott

If you could change or impact one thing in our business community, what would it be?

This is tough, but if I had to pick one thing it might be to encourage all individuals and businesses to support local as much as possible. These small businesses are critical to our economy and our area and, especially in these times, are in need of our support.

Why work with Fargo INC?

I have always been impressed by the useful and up-to-date information that Fargo, Inc. puts out. The staff is very professional and it carries over in the magazine they produce and the content they tackle. No matter what industry you’re in or what your profession is, each publication has bits of useful information and guidance.

What are three business tips you can give?

  1. Challenge yourself to be better today than you were yesterday and better tomorrow than you are today.
  2. You can’t get from people what they do not have.
  3. Be defined by what and who you are, not what you do.
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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.